Kawhi Leonard Rumors: Star Keeping 'Open Mind' About Re-Signing with Raptors

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 16: San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) rests during the Los Angeles Clippers 115-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs at the Staples Center at the Staples Center on December 16, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Elise/Getty Images)
Chris Elise/Getty Images

Kawhi Leonard will reportedly keep an "open mind" as he prepares to enter a contract year with the Toronto Raptors.

Appearing on TSN Radio on Wednesday, Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News (h/t NBC Sports' Dan Feldman) said he has been given the impression Leonard will give the Raptors a chance with rumors of a potential move to Los Angeles already circulating in advance of summer 2019: 

"Based off of me talking to people within his circle, they’re going to go into this thing with an open mind and give this thing every last opportunity to work. And at the end of the day, if that’s the case, then it would be great if he stays. Obviously, I think part of his mind, yes, let’s keep real: I think he still feels like L.A. might be the destination. At the same time, he plans to go into this thing with an open mind, giving it every single shot in the world to make it work."

That news comes one day after ESPN.com's Ian Begley reported the Raptors had hired Leonard's friend and former San Antonio Spurs staffer Jeremy Castleberry to join head coach Nick Nurse's coaching staff. 

Begley's report also mentioned that Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri decided to part ways with DeMar DeRozan in the Leonard blockbuster "with a determination that he can convince Leonard to re-sign with the Raptors next summer in free agency," according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. 

However, all indications to this point suggest Ujiri will have his hands full. 

Even before he was dealt to the Raptors, Leonard was connected heavily to both the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers

And with the start of the 2018-19 regular season less than two months away, those two clubs are still in the driver's seat, per Wojnarowski. 

Come July 1, the Raptors will be able to offer Leonard a five-year, $190 million max contract. Competing clubs can offer $141 million over four years. 

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